Pancakes not just for Pancake Day there for Life!

 Because Pancakes aren’t just for Pancake day!


So depending on where you are in this glorious world it was “Mardis Gras”, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day a whole list of names on February 17th 2015, 2 days since,  ultimately it’s history lies in celebratory food, a feasting prior to the limitations of Lent.

Its a rich history lies from a pagan celebration as are most of the food /religious seasonal food events that have been overtaken by a commercial focus on food and spending think- Easter now equals Chocolate Eggs. Halloween now equals buckets of sweets. Christmas is a feast of food the list is quite endless. There is little talk or awareness of why we do what we do at these times now,  any relevant historical  significance removed from the event, Now I’m not moaning any reason to cook and eat is a happy one, but I desire the need and understanding why behind some of our food traditions have become what they are today.

word history

On researching the history of the day its similar although with some variances cover the following reasons (not an exhaustive list)  for why we use pancakes and their symbolic use:

  • Pagan Celebration,(a week long Shrovetide not just  a day) ,of the seasonal changes from Spirit of Cold and Darkness (Winter) into the God of Vegetation, Fertility (Spring)
  • The hot, round pancakes symbolised the sun. with a belief if eaten pancakes, they got the power, light and warmth of the sun.
  • The first pancake was usually put on a window for the spirits of the ancestors.
  • On the last day of Shrovetide week some pancakes and other food were burnt in a bonfire as a sacrifice to the pagan gods.
  •  feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter –
  • was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins).
  • A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.
  • The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old: “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.” (Pasquil’s Palin, 1619).
  • Ingredients had their own symbolism too- Eggs ~ Creation, Flour ~ The staff of life, Salt ~ Wholesomeness, Milk ~ Purity

Each culture has its own interpretation but the same focus on celebratory eating and a little bit gluttony prior to a time of reflection and limiting , ceasing  ones behaviour or actions straight into Lent. 

Now for me in the UK its Pancake Day an this means in essence an opportunity to put the wired and wonderful into a battered lining and also the allowance to make up ridiculous names that encapsulate the day of silliness- why ever would we celebrate with eating the simplest of foods?

In amongst all of this tradition the pancake in all its forms is a necessity, a staple part of many cuisines and food eaten everyday

Worldwide acclaim 

Pancake variations and versatility each cuisine has its own type, each derived from basics of flour, liquid and raising agent ,to name but a few each of these are staple parts of the diet as so easy to make, store, eat and serve

  • Africa Injeri
  • France  Crepe
  • Somalia Lahoh
  • India Dosa
  • Japan Okonomiyaki
  • Czech palatschinke
  • Germany Pfannkuchen
  • Spain Frixuelos

Literally each country has its own type and style and well worth looking at and making each type

 Pancakes have that universal ability to be stuffed, added, with pretty much anything your personal preference desires possibly the ultimate street food .



Here are some Pancakes recipes and some more ideas …

 Pancake Batter


Using a cup or glass as your measure
1 cup of flour
1 cup of eggs ( a standard tea/mug is 3 eggs)
2 cups of milk (fullfat i prefer but use any type you like
Pinch of Salt
Nut oil or butter for cooking

(*To Make this a chocolate pancake batter add half a cup of cocoa and 1/4 cup same size you have used throughout of sugar)
(**To Make this GF or for others with intolerances, use Gluten Free Flour, Rice Flour or Buckwheat same quantities and add 3 tsp of xanthan gum and use Almond Milk)
(*** To Make this into American/Drop/Scotch pancake batter add another cup of flour , 2 tablespoons of baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda- this makes thicker batter easy to drop onto your hot griddle or pan)

How to
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl
pour over your milk
Whisk thoroughly until smooth
Allow to rest in your fridge for 30 minutes minimum – best made night before

To Cook your pancakes
Use a heated pan or griddle – shouldn’t be smoking just hot
Use a either a pastry brush and brush your oil into the pan or put 2tsbps of nut oil into your hot pan
Ladle your pancake batter into the cetre of thr pan and then move the pan around in a circle off the heat to cover the bottom of your pan
Put back on the hob and all the pancake to cook- allow bubbles to form and the edges to come away from the side- DONT mess, touch just allow it to cook- about 1-2 minutes
Now you can flip or turn
cook for 1 -2 minutes more
Put your choice of topping on

Chocolate and Rose Pancake Stack
Using the American/Drop Pancake batter as above
Add chocolate chips, 1/2 tsp f rose water and dried rose petals and mix through batter evenly.
Drop spoonfuls onto your heated pan
turn when bubbles form on each pancake
Serve with warmed chocolate sauce , rose sugar or cocoa icing sugar

Mount Vesuvius 



Our family tradition came from an adapted and evolved recipe from my childhood, the original version was a rolled up pancake stuffed with corned beef and softened onion (I think)  with the soup poured over it and crisps sprinkled on top and baked for a short while ..

Over the years with my children we have progressed to this our final and for the past 12-14 years been making it this way

This is an evolved mains course . A layered Savoury Pancake Mille-feuille! In Reality a pile of pancakes stuffed with a South African Bobotie concoction with no real recipe and crunch from croutons (normally crisps) and believe it or not Heinz Tomato Soup aka volcano with lava! My justification for this is it did start when my children were very small!

Crab and Coconut Pancake
Pancake Batter ( as above you could substitute the milk for coconut milk also for added depth of flavour)
Half a dressed crab – white and brown meat about 20-30g per pancake
Grated Coconut fresh, creamed or even desiccated about a large dessertspoonful
Red and Green Chilli de-seeded and chopped finely
Roughly chopped fresh coriander
salt and pepper to taste
Lemon zest

How to
Mix all the ingredients into your pancake batter until evenly mixed through
Make pancake as normal
On serving add a little extra fresh coriander and fresh lemon zest

Ricotta Spinach and Courgette Pancake 
Pancake batter
1/2 tub of ricotta cheese
1 courgette grated
2 large handfuls of wilted spinach (heat in a dry pan with couple of splashes of water until the spinach has wilted down)
Lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
(you can add chilli if you like)

How to
Mix all the ingredients into your pancake batter until evenly mixed through
Make pancake as normal
On serving add a little extra ricotta and lemon on the side

Anyway just remember a pancake is not just for Pancake Day its a great food, snack and ultimately a great dinner sweet or savoury …

References : Wikipedia, Historic UK,

Also had a piece for the Bolton News  

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